Let me ask you something. Do you think you’re pretty good at driving your car? I mean, you’ve been doing it since you’ve been what...15? 16? If you grew up on some back country roads like I did, it may be even earlier than that. For many of you reading this, you’ve been driving for decades, so it’s probably safe to assume that you’re pretty efficient at driving a car. Now, how effective do you think you’d be at building your car from the ground up...? Yeah, me either. That’s why when something is wrong with my car, I take it to the professionals.
If you don’t have any formal training in exercise science, strength and conditioning, etc., then you attempting to build your own workouts because “I played college sports,” or, “I’ve been working out my whole life,” is the equivalent to you trying to build your own car just because you’ve been driving since you were a kid.
The problem with the fitness industry though, is that the barrier of entry is so incredibly low. Any 18-year-old who pays some money to take an exam online can become a personal trainer, touting themselves as someone strangers should trust with their health and fitness goals.
Now don’t get me wrong, there are some really knowledgeable trainers out there who can get incredible results for you. The issue is, those trainers are few and far between, and the rest of the field is watered down by everyone else. I see it all the time: A trainer taking someone through a “workout” which typically consists of a circuit of different machines while they swipe through Instagram and turn into a glorified rep counter for you, all while charging an average of $100 per session.
There is something seriously wrong with that picture.
The solution is to get to a professional, a physical therapist who has a background in strength and conditioning. Now, I’m obviously biased, but hear me out. Below are my top three reasons why the next time you’re looking to make a change in your health and fitness journey, you should look at a physical therapist with a background in strength and conditioning.
1. They spend 7 years becoming experts on the musculoskeletal system. Did you know that Physical Therapy is a doctoral level profession? Physical therapists spend four years in undergrad, typically obtaining a bachelor's degree in exercise science, where they learn the ins and outs of human performance, before taking their training to the next level by getting a doctorate degree that is more specialized on the human musculoskeletal system than any other healthcare provider, short of an orthopedic surgeon. That’s an incredible amount of training and knowledge with which to trust your health and fitness journey.
2. They know how to not let injuries derail you from your fitness goals. Physical therapists see injuries every day in the clinic, and just like any other profession you start to recognize patterns. Patterns such as poor breathing patterns leading to back injuries; poor hip mobility leading to stress fractures in your feet; poor upper back mobility leading to shoulder pain; and endless others. Simply put, performance based physical therapists know what “normal” human movement should look like, especially when under load (which is where most problems arise) and when deviations from “normal” can set you up for a higher likelihood of getting injured. Being able to catch the deviations will not only prevent injury, but they will help boost your performance and help you achieve your goals faster.
3. They understand how complex variables can play into your performance. Sleep, stress management, breath work, joint mobility, previous injury history, psychosocial implications that come from previous injuries, illnesses, etc. - all of these are crucial variables that can directly impact how well you progress towards your goals. Chances are, your local globo gym personal trainer isn’t going to be able to piece those together for you. That’s where a performance physical therapist comes in. We work with these variables every single day and know how to manage them with your programming.
Now, the point of this article is not to bash personal trainers. There are plenty of physical therapists who have no business handling your fitness goals. But, a performance based physical therapist with a strong background in strength and conditioning has a unique blend of skill sets that will be able to best set yourself up for success. At Athletes’ Potential, every single one of our Doctors of Physical Therapy has a background in physical therapy, and we’d love to help you with your fitness goals as well.
It depends on how serious you are though...there are plenty of “5 minute oil changes” out there who can talk through some exercises. But, if you’re ready to take your health and fitness goals seriously, then it’s time to get to an expert.
Thanks for reading,
Dr. Jake, PT, DPT, CSCS
Active Atlanta Podcast: Episode One with Danny Matta
Hey, what's going on, everybody? Doc Danny Matta here with the Active Atlanta Podcast, and this is episode number one. So, first of all, thanks so much for listening. If you have worked with us in the past and you're listening to the podcast, I appreciate your willingness to spend time with us. If you've never spent time with me or any of our staff at Athletes’ Potential, thanks for listening to the podcast!.
I hope that you listen every week, and my goal is for you to learn a ton about how you can really take care of yourself and live a really active, fulfilled life that's healthy, pain-free, and to enjoy the people around you. What I wanted to do in this first episode is really give you a clear idea of what I'm going to be talking about, who I'm going to be talking to, and who this is for. And also, why the heck would you want to listen to me or any of the people that I know that I'm going to be interviewing and sharing their approaches, with you, on this podcast. So, first of all, just so we can save you a bunch of time, if this doesn't sound like you, no need to listen to the podcast.
This podcast is for people that are trying to say active, pain-free, healthy, and live a very active life around their family, their friends, and they look at their health as an investment. They want to actually be healthy. They want to be able to use their body long-term, and what we see is there's really two options.
You either don't put the right things nearby and put the right context around what you're doing in your day to day life, or you do. And the way that you look at long-term changes. It's a difference between somebody that's 90 years old picking up their grandkids and somebody who's 90 years old having to get helped out of a chair.
There’s things that happen that are unavoidable, but what we want to do is give our body the best chance to be pain-free, active, and really enjoy the one vehicle we have in life for as long as we possibly can. We do know that these decisions that we make on a day to day basis, well before we're in our late years, really dictate what our life looks like at that point.
So, to give you an idea of where I come from with this: I've been a physical therapist for around 10 years at this point and my story is very similar to many of the people in our profession, and it takes a little bit of a turn a couple of years after I got started in the profession.
So what happened was, I joined the Army in 2007, and I stayed in until 2014. So, I was a physical therapist in the Army. I'm directly attached to an infantry brigade for a good number of those years where I was actually the person in charge of injury treatment, injury prevention, and what they called Human Performance Optimization.
So that meant that I was the strength coach. I was the person that was actually helping develop strength and conditioning models, training plans - things that people are going to be following to hopefully be healthy, but also not to get hurt along the way and be able to do their job, which is a difficult thing when you're talking about programming and training soldiers that are really going to be in austere environments and carrying heavy loads, and doing a lot of physical tasks that sometimes are unknown, at the time.
So, for me, I started to really invest a lot of time and energy in learning this sort of hybrid strain conditioning, as well as clinical skill sets. And when I left that job, I was put back into a hospital situation.
It's very common for physical therapists to be in hospitals or clinics - I'm not always attached to infantry brigades in the Army - and I got reassigned from Honolulu to Columbus, Georgia, I was put into a traditional clinical setting where I was seeing both soldiers and I was seeing dependents and retirees, so really running the gamut from a six-year-old kid that's a competitive soccer player with an ankle sprain to a 90-year-old WWII vet that was trying to get over a fall that they may have had.
And what I started to do was look at applying the same principles of this hybrid strain and conditioning and clinical skill set that I had developed working with this infantry brigade with everybody across across the gamut from the six-year-old all the way to this 90-year-old and everybody in between. What I started to see was, people would make dramatic changes in their functionality and in the achievement of their goals that they had.
Many people are the same. They want to be more active. They want to do more of the things physically that they like to do. They want to be in less pain and they want to be able to enjoy the people around them and the time that they have with them. And for me, this model that we sort of established whenever I was in the Army, I wanted to be able to take that model and share it with the civilian world -- with the city of Atlanta, where we decided we were going to move after I decided to leave active duty with the Army.
So, in 2014, we packed everything up, and moved from Columbus, Georgia, to Atlanta. I took a job, also teaching for another group where I was teaching the same concept of movement and mobility and self care, and I ended up having an opportunity to teach internationally for a few years and really get in front of thousands of coaches and clinicians with that information that we’ve shared, the process of.
Teaching people how to take care of themselves and letting people invest in their own health and taking ownership in their own health, it’s spread, and it's something that I'm so happy to see. It has caught on with what we do in Atlanta and plenty of other people that are doing similar things.
What I really want to be able to do is not just, you know, share what we've learned, which there is an element of this where there's going to be topic based episodes where we're going to talk to you about, “Hey, if you have back pain, what are the first few things you can do? What do you want to think about? What do you want to be aware of?” But not just that, I also want to be able to highlight some of the people that we know that do an amazing job with their specialty in the city of Atlanta. Because over the last five years, I've gotten to know quite a few people that I just think are world-class.
And there's a lot more of them out here in Atlanta that I just don't know yet. But we will find them and let them tell their story, their philosophy, and share it with you. The goal is for us to have a medium where everyone can start to take better ownership of their health, of their wellness.
You know, we live in an interesting time. My grandfather grew up on a farm and he's 94 and has fought in multiple wars. He's a tough human being. But, my life growing up and his life growing up, they look very different. Very, very different; right? And sometimes what happens is, with modern technology, things get more convenient and we start to move less and less and less, and we don't have to be as physically active for our profession. Many of us have gone the route where we've gotten professional degrees, but that typically leads to the more educated you are, the more money you make, the less physical movement you typically have to do for your job day to day.
Think of it. If you're sitting here, listening to this, and you're an attorney, you've gone to school for a long time and you pretty much sit and read stuff all day and or prep to do things in court, or whatever it is that you do. If you're an accountant, you sit and you look at numbers or you project financials.
Now, if you're a physician. You're sitting here with patients, you're doing notes, you're, maybe you're in surgeries, but there's very, very little active movement going on. You want to see somebody that has an active job, watch an arborist, take a tree down and think to yourself, how does that compare to my day today? How does it compare to the things that you do?
It's a catch 22 in our world, where the more education we have, the more professional training we have, the less there's a physical requirement for us on a day to day basis. And for many of us, we live a very sedentary lifestyle. Now, let's define that for a second.
So, a sedentary lifestyle is based on the standards of Australia. When I was down there, I had an interesting conversation with a physio there who was involved with their national health care. He said that they define sedentary lifestyle as anybody that's sitting more than six hours per day. One of their top health concerns is to help cut down on sedentary lifestyle.
Now, if you're sitting here right now and you think that, “I'm borderline. Maybe I don't sit six hours a day.” You've got to count commute. You've got to get count time in the office sitting down and watching TV, sitting down and eating, bathroom time. For some of you, maybe he's a little longer than the average.
You got to add those minutes in as well. Six hours is the standard, and for many of us, we accumulate that in half a day between our commute and sitting by the time that you get through lunch. Now, here's the really shocking thing about what's considered a sedentary lifestyle: No matter how hard you train outside of that, it's almost impossible to negate the negative long-term effects of having a sedentary lifestyle on things like metabolic disease.
And we know that those are things that, long-term, cause catastrophic issues in your health and things that we want to be able to affect and change. And this is just one piece of the things we want to talk about and to really give you an idea -- there's sort of four key areas that we want to bring experts in.
Number one is movements. We kind of talked a little bit about this with a sedentary lifestyle, but movement is just the quantity of movement, so how much are you moving in the day? Is exercise/non-exercise based movement, quality of movements? How well do you move? How well can you get in and out of positions? Do you struggle to get off the ground when you're down there with your kids? You don't? Do you need help from somebody to get back up? If you're having to sit where they call it now -- criss cross applesauce thing, is what my daughter calls it, you know, being politically correct -- can you sit like that for like five minutes and then get back up without your legs being asleep? Or without your hips killing you? Are you strong enough to get back up off the ground? All these things go into basic things of movement, quality and quantity.
Number two: What are you putting in your body? Now I'm not saying you have to eat like a monk and you never have a gram of sugar in your life. What I'm saying is, we have to understand the basic tenets of nutrition and what we put in our body and what that means to our long-term health. And you can make a strong statement that this is one of the most important things that people can do from a long-term health and wellness standpoint.
So basic nutrition, basic food information of, what we should be eating, what those things are, how much should we, how often should we, fluid intake -- all of these things, or the basics of nutrition.
From there, it's stress management. And guys, I think this is where we can really get some really interesting people on board and have them share their opinions. And when we look at stress management, many of us deal with this. I don't know a single person that doesn't deal with stress in their life: If you have a few kids; and you have a hectic job; you have a mortgage to pay; you've got taxes; the car breaks down; you have to get a tree taken out of your backyard.
All these things, they just lead to this sort of stressful environment that if you don't understand how to manage stress yourself, and have a basic framework of how to actually stay healthy and manage stress in a really positive way and not letting that spill over into your relationships with your friends and your family and ruin, in many cases, those relationships.
This is stress management and our ability to actually cope with our own. Emotions are our own stress levels that we're going to have on a day to day basis. And many of us are really, really bad at this, and it's something that we usually just totally neglect. We think, “Oh no, it is what it is. It's just part of my life. I just have a stressful life.” Well, maybe, but there's also probably some really, really fairly straightforward strategies that we can start to implement on a habitual basis. They're going to help you manage those things and then negate much of that from these long-term negative effects associated with that.
Now, the last core tenant that we're going to talk about is sleep. Sleep is one of these things that I don't know why it's such a difficult topic for people to get a grasp on, for them to really start to optimize their sleep to start to get healthy.
I had a sleep physician tell me this one time. He goes, “Danny, it would be like me trying to talk people into having sex more - iit should be something everybody likes and would want to do more of. But yet, nobody wants to focus on sleep. Nobody wants to try and get better at sleep. Nobody wants to actually spend the time in bed, have a nighttime routine, set the stage to actually get meaningful sleep.”
And, for many of you listening to this, if you have children, you know firsthand, if your kids get a bad night's sleep, or your kids go to bed late, wake up early, whatever it is, I mean, they're little turds. They're a pain in the butt during that time, and we are just adult versions of that, but we can control our emotions better.
But if you really look at what's happening to us from a neurological standpoint in terms of our efficiency, our health, our ability to recover from injuries and from sickness, things that really can cause long-term negative implications on our health and wellness for cancer, neurological diseases, our body's immune system, and hormone system, in many cases, is resetting and rebuilding, indexing things, healing ourselves when we're asleep during these certain depths of sleep that many of us do not prioritize enough to even get get to.
So we have nights where, for months and years, where you're asleep, but you're not really hitting levels of sleep that are beneficial for you, or maybe you're not even there long enough, or maybe you're just sitting there watching “Game of Thrones” for a few hours before you go to bed and then you're so riled up from watching the last episode of whatever, that you can't actually fall asleep and then now you're in bed for a long time, but you're not actually sleeping now.
I'm not going to harp on this anymore because we're definitely going to get into some basics of these things and ways for you guys to really start to set the stage to have some quick wins in your health and your wellness, and sleep is one of those things I'm very passionate about because, for years, I neglected my own sleep when we first started our business.
I got out of the Army in 2014 and -- I don't know, some of you may have your own business, but it's the hardest thing I've ever done in my life. It was one of those things that, I had two young kids at the time, I didn't know if it was going to work. So my answer was, I'm just going to work as hard as humanly possible.
And at the time I was still traveling internationally and across the country, teaching on movement, mobility topics, just trained coaches and clinicians and I was usually gone two or three times a month. So, I was traveling a lot. I wasn't sleeping much. I was putting a bunch of hours in and, over the course of about two years, I just basically ran myself into the ground. I was tired all the time. I was short with people. I really wasn't myself. And the biggest variable that I had to change was to structure proper sleep into my day and make it a priority.
Because at the time I wasn't, and I thought it was one of those things just like, “Oh, it's not that important. You know, like I've got other things to do.” But, the lack of efficiency I had because of neglecting long-term sleep probably slowed me down more than it actually helped. In the long run, you just can't do it.
We need to sleep. It's that simple. And so we're going to talk about some basics that you can get into, in all of these areas. And, like I said, some of this is going to be topic based. Some of this is going to be specialists that we know in the area. And some of you may know people that you think are awesome and we would love to talk to them as well.
We would really appreciate it if you decided, “Hey, this person would be amazing.” If you can line up a time to talk to them and share their story in there, their unique knowledge, just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, is the best place to send that, and just let us know who they are and you can make us a warm introduction or share their contact information so that we can get in touch with them.
Because, our goal really is to highlight all the people that we've met that we think can be really helpful, and I look at it as helping you create this cohort of people that you can call on and utilize when need be; to create this ecosystem of health and wellness providers that have your best interest at heart and want to help you really stay healthy, investing in your body, and be able to really enjoy it long-term.
Because, I mean, I think that maybe I'm a bit biased compared to many other people because I've seen the gamut of things that have come through my clinic and hospitals that I've been in, and really nasty stuff, like some of these nasty neurological diseases that we know are strongly connected to gut health and stress management, these really bad musculoskeletal issues where people have long-term arthritic changes in multiple joint replacements. Then, they lose their ability to be independent, and at that point it's, honestly, kind of a sad existence.
I know for many of you that are listening to this -- I like to think that you're probably more aware of your health than the average person, and that's the kind of people that we want to help. We want to help people that want to be an outlier. You know, I don't want to just be the average person that once you get to a certain age, it's just, “Okay, well, I'm just going to sit in this recliner and wait to die.”
And, as morbid as that sounds, as bad as that sounds, it's reality for a lot of people. I want to be the guy that's 90 years old picking his grandkid up, and e walking around with them -- or great-grandkid or whatever, at that point -- but active, enjoying my family, enjoying my friends around me, and still enjoying the world around me as well. And you can't do that if you're physically unable to, if you're dependent on other people. And having a long-term perspective on your health and wellness, not as a cost, but as an investment.
And we're all so quick to get a new vehicle. We're so quick to get the -- I'm gonna get this new BMW, you know, switch it out for the old model cause he's got some new bells and whistles, where you get one body. That's it. One body. Your one vehicle in life.
You can get a new car every month if that's what you decide you want to do. If you have the money to do so, you can get a new part in your body. It's called a joint replacement and it's a difficult thing to do. I don't recommend doing it. And if you really want to get scared off from doing it, just YouTube “hip replacement” or “knee replacement,” and you'll never want that to happen to you. I've sat in on these surgeries and trust me, I don't want some guy dislocating my hip, cutting a piece of it out, hammering another piece in, and then suturing my leg back up, and then having to be on the receiving end of all the rehab that goes into just getting somebody back to a normal state.
And in many cases, those things are avoidable. Sometimes they're not, and there's great surgeons that can actually do those surgeries really well when it's necessary. But, our body is designed to be around for a hundred years without those things happening, without us needing these additional certain reasons, unless they're absolutely necessary.
But, if we set the stage to be healthy, to manage stress, eat good food most of the time to sleep and to move well and to move often, we're independent, we're healthy, we're happier because we get a chance to enjoy the people around us. And that's really what it comes down to, in my opinion. Health is a vehicle to get you there and allow you to enjoy whatever it is that you want.
We have a unique opportunity to see these amazing people and what they're capable of and things that people say they shouldn't be doing at their age, and for them just to say, “You know what? The status quo, what's normal, I don't want to be that. I want to be more than that. I want to enjoy my life on my terms, and I want my body to be as healthy as humanly possible along the way, so that I don't have to limit myself for the experiences that I have or the time I have with other people.”
And that's the goal of this podcast. And frankly, that's the goal of our practice.
When I got out of the Army five years ago and decided to open our business, it was something that I didn't know if it would work. I told my dad, I told my family, and I said, “Here's my plan. I'm going to get out of the Army.” I had been in for around seven years and I was looking at getting promoted to major, really, in the next one to two years.
And I told them, “Look, I don't want to be in this environment anymore. I think there's something else that I'm supposed to do. I'm going to move to Atlanta. I'm going to take a position teaching this stuff, that I'm so passionate about, and I'm going to open a practice in a CrossFit gym on the Westside of Atlanta in a room that has no windows in an area where I know nobody. I'm not from here, and I'm going to work with people in a setting in which I'm going to kind of mesh this clinical and strength skill set, and I'm not going to directly take insurance.”
And my dad and many of my friends (with good reason) told me it was probably a bad idea. And as I say it out loud, I think to myself, “Yeah, it sounds like a bad idea,” but I just felt that there were enough people out there that wanted to actually do things the right way, not do things based on your insurance company. And, let's be honest, these people don't care about you. They don't care about me. They want to be as profitable as possible, give you the hardest time possible, so that they have to pay for the least amount of insurance claims that are out there and pay all of their investors and stockholders as much as they can.
And that doesn't mean that's the right thing for your health. And because of the context of our healthcare system, we have to decide to take our own health into our own hands and look for the right choices from people that are doing things based on what's best for the client, best for the patient, not what insurance says you're supposed to do or what insurance says you're supposed to be able to get reimbursed for.
A great example of this is a friend of mine who recently went to a podiatrist. He thought he had a foot fracture. He'd been training to run a marathon. Scan came back clean. He just had a little bit of soft tissue issue going on there, but he was a little bit worried about it, and turned out it was fine.
The podiatrist tells him, “Hey, I want you to wear this brace.” My buddy goes, “Well, I'm probably not going to wear it.” And he goes, “Well, just take it anyway, just in case,” and gives him this brace. Two months later, he gets a bill from this group for $850 and as he looks at the office visit, which is like $400, and the brace that he was given by this guy that told him, “Hey, just take it anyway.”
$450 for a foot brace that he never even wore. Why? Because that guy is getting reimbursed for it and that is not an ethical decision. That's something that this person probably has to do because that's what insurance is going to reimburse for. So anybody that comes to them with foot pain probably gets one of these dumb-ass braces that nobody's going to wear in the first place. And this is where we're at with insurance. It's a crappy place to be. It's a reason why we're as transparent as we humanly possibly can be. So, you know, if you work with us, this is the context I'm working with you.
I don't care what your insurance company says I can and cannot do, or what I'm going to get reimbursed for. We follow our clinical practice act to the letter, but we do what's best for our clients, not what insurance companies say we should get reimbursed for, because in many cases, they do not match up with what you should actually be doing.
And that is an important thing as a consumer to realize, that you have choices and those choices really should be in prevention, in stopping some of these really nasty long-term diseases and problems that happen that can that can limit your body's ability to move, but neurologically limits you, but also can put you in a terrible financial position, that accumulates. And you either are proactive about it or you get surprised by it one day and we just don't know.
Because genetics loads the gun and habits pull the trigger. And I had a doc tell me that one time and I thought it was so striking and he said, “Genetics loads the gun, habits and lifestyle pull the trigger.” I guess you can kind of test for this stuff at this point, but lifestyle habits, we just don't know how many bad choices we can make before that.
That trigger gets pulled. What we want to do is help you really live as healthy a life as you possibly can, avoid as much as you possibly can in terms of the negative things, and be able to enjoy all the positive things that we know that we all value so much in life.
And, I hope that this first podcast episode gives you an idea of what you can expect from my interviews that I'm going to do with our special guests, with the topic-based episodes that we're gonna do. And that's the goal, is to really help you live as long and healthy and happy and actively as we possibly can by helping you understand how to create a framework of investing in yourself and doing the right things for yourself on a day to day basis; to create these habitual changes that lead to true long-term health.
So, yes, that is it. I'm excited for this one. You know, I've had two other podcasts and I still do another one. I have a couple of hundred episodes underneath my belt with conditioning coaches in mind, and I'm excited to get back into this and share this with the Atlanta area.
Atlanta is not my home, but, it really is now. I've never been anywhere longer than we have been in Atlanta. I grew up in a military family, and have really never lived anywhere more than about three years. I've been here for five. So this is where our roots are at this point. I may not be from Atlanta originally, but hell, many of you probably aren't. I don't know many people that are from Atlanta that still live in Atlanta. If you do, you're like a unicorn. You're very rare here. But regardless, I'm excited for this one.
Thanks so much for listening and, as always, guys, thank you so much for listening to the Active Atlanta Podcast and we'll catch you next time.
Want to know the secret to a good training session? An effective warm up.
Now, I don’t mean hop on the treadmill and walk for 5 minutes, then get straight into your bro sesh. There’s more to it than that. I would argue that a warm up should be just as important as the training session itself. You can’t look at it from a myopic lens of just 10 or 15 minutes, but more at the cumulative effect. If you take a 10 minute warm up, training 3 days per week for 48-52 weeks in the year, that is a total of 1440-1560 minutes. That’s 24-26 hours over the course of a year.
Instead of saying warm up, we’re going to refer to it as Movement Preparation, or Movement Prep for short. I like this verbiage as it gives more intent for the session ahead and avoids any negative connotation associated with warm up.
Ok, let’s break down the anatomy of an effective warm up:
Let’s say you’ve got a lower body day lined up with front squats as your main compound lift. Here’s a way to organize your Movement Prep to get your ready for the training session:
Just remember, this can add up to a full day of warm up time. That’s a lot. Instead of taking dedicated mobility and soft tissue time, be intentional with your Movement Prep. You may even notice that all those aches and pains you were feeling might disappear and you’ll finish your training sessions feeling more accomplished than before.
Dr. Ravi Patel, PT, DPT, CSCS
So here's the question, how do active people in the Atlanta area, stay pain-free and live the active fulfilled life that they deserve at any age. This is the question. And this podcast is the answer. I'm Danny Matta and welcome to the Active Atlanta Podcast.
Active Atlanta Podcast is sponsored by Athletes' Potential. And at Potential we help active adults stay that way. Pain-free and active during the sports and activities that they do. For life. We do this by working on four different areas. That's movement, nutrition, stress management, and sleep. When we optimize these four areas, you feel better, you move better, you live better for life. Head over to athletespotential.com to learn how we can help you stay active for life today.
What's going on guys, Doc Danny here with the Active Atlanta Podcast and I've got my buddy Ben Davis on today from Noble Clay. I'm extremely excited to have a opportunity to chat with with him. I think he has one of the more interesting gym models out there, not just from a standpoint of, you know, helping you hit your health and wellness goals, but also from a support of the local community standpoint and doing something that I did.
I don't know. From what I've seen. So it'd be cool to dig into it with his gym. That's also a nonprofit and, and first of all, Ben, I know you're a busy guy. You got a lot going on with the gym and family. I just saw your, your two and a half year old going out for a walk. So I appreciate your time. Yeah.
Thank you for having me.
Well, let's, let's start with this because I think that, I mean, I know your backstory a little bit. I think it's interesting. But I I'd love for you to be able to share some of your origin story with people that listen to this podcast. So they get a better idea of where, what led you to what you're kind of doing now. And we can dig into that a little bit as well.
Yeah, totally. Yeah. I mean, I, you know, I was I'll start, can kind of just growing up, you know very involved in athletics, played soccer and wrestled at a fairly high rate. In soccer was at the ODP level. And then for the State of Georgia and then wrestled with one of the top schools with console and just had a, had didn't know really what I was going to do in life or from about 18 to 25 years old.
And ran back into a buddy of mine, Kyle Maynard, who wrestled with me in high school. And, and I was PT personal trainer at Lifetime Fitness. At the time, I was a bootcamp coordinator and learning under a guy named John Hanrahan, who was a three-time All-American from Penn State wrestler.
And we gathered up with Kyle and helped him train it for a fight. That was, he was going through he ended up making a documentary for it called A Fighting Chance. It's out on Netflix.
I don't know who Kyle is. Explain why that's impressive.
Yeah, sure. So, so Kyle's was born with a condition called congenial amputation.
So he has no arms, no legs. And just a unique story of a guy that didn't, you know, it was, was raised without excuses. You know, he, he was taught, he was made to do stuff and figure things out. And primarily from his parents guidance and, and then you know, became a champion wrestler played football in seventh grade, ended up wanting to wrestle in high school, lost his first, like 36 matches in a row.
Never gave up, ended up winning his first match, which catapulted them to you know, multiple wins after that ended up his senior year placing I think the top 11 in the nation in his way. Against able-bodied kids. So he's, you know, wrestling against able-bodied people. And then he wrote a book called No Excuses of just about his journey in life.
And and he, and, and I got together 2008 in the summer of 2008 to start training. And then we, we found a. And reached out to Greg Glassman and said, Hey, do you think Kyle can do this? Greg got excited, said, yeah, absolutely love to meet him. So Louis told us to come out to Tony Blauer spot out in Virginia Beach, and we got certified all, you know, on Greg's generosity bringing colonize dare to get level one.
And that kind of started my, my fitness career in terms of what it is today. Right there in 2008, we opened up no excuses, CrossFit and December of 2008. We were certified in CrossFit in August of 2008. So within four months we had the gym open and operating. So yeah, the CrossFit and what you're doing now, I think it's really important to kind of highlight The difference in training methods, because I think for a lot of people, they hear CrossFit and they're like, oh, it's a CrossFit guy.
And then instantly they lump you do a bucket of just like high intensity training group format. But what you guys are doing now, and I'd love to hear sort of your evolution of, of having run CrossFit gyms to the approach that you take. Now, how would you say that your health wellness kind of training approach differs now from back when you started doing CrossFit with Kyle?
Yeah. So it's a good question. One w we're much more individualized than we give credit to, like we're such, we're such unique human beings each and every one of you look at the genome, you look at the fingerprint, right? You see the uniqueness in us, an individuality in us yet we are made for community and healthy relationship, et cetera.
Which is one of the reasons CrossFit became so popular that it was the community aspect of it. I, I disagree. I would not agree that it was the methodology. And something really I'll share this, that something very impactful happened to me in 2008. Right before I opened up the gym with Kyle a lot of people don't know this is part of my story, but I was obviously on a bridge ready to commit suicide.
In November of 2008 and Delani. I was out half drunk with some old friends of mine and just, I just was in a bad place. And just didn't see any reason to live and the meaning of life. And, and and that night I had a heart change and a mind change about what life was all about. About three years.
Prior to that moment, someone shared faith and Christianity was the reality of Jesus Christ. About his life, his death, his resurrection 2000 years ago. And I started thinking, well, who's this Jesus. See who he is. And so I started investigating at that time. I was more of like evolutionary biology, I believe in a lot of the natural selection.
And I still do. I believe that just God has created all of that. But that change radically transformed my life when I stepped down from the bridge. And I just said, you know, God, I don't know how to follow you. I don't know who you are, but if you, if you will help me, I'll follow you. And that moment when I decided not to be my own God, not to try to control my own life, but just given my life to Christ my life radically changed.
And I tell you that story, because that brings us to where I am today. Through those five years of CrossFit I had a buddy of mine, Blake Shuber, come to me and say, Then I'm doing some work in Uganda. Can we use your gym, do an event and raise money to build a school over there? And I said, yeah, let's do it.
And I started getting into the church. I started learning about, you know, guy's desire to care for the poor, for the, for the least of these and, and do things that would care for other people. And I started seeing the injustices in the world. More openly than I've had before. And I had this just greater desire to do something about, especially in the realm of fitness, because that was just what a passion of mine was and something I had done my whole life.
And and through those five years, I've wrestled with, well, what would that look like as a ministry? And so in 2012, I started Radical Fitness ministries incorporated with the state and. And didn't really know what to do with it. And I wrestled with the idea and I went to Kyle and I said, hey, Kyle, let's try, let's do something like with no, no excuses. And he and I kind of are both visionaries and we just butted heads. Well, it was his brand and I had to respect his brand and he had to re you know, he respected my vision too. And so we cordially split split ways that brought me into Atlanta. And I came on board with a franchise called Iron Tribe.
And helped to build up the on Ponce location. And then we were fortunate enough to partner with corporate and do a second location over on the West Side. And through those years I just came into Atlanta, my wife and I lived here two years and I started seeing the inner city injustices happening.
People not having access to even food much less fitness and coaching and what we were providing an Iron Tribe, you know, $250 a month. There are people that couldn't even touch that. And it it, frankly, it made me angry and it still does, like, I'm angry about that reality. And, but that anger now with my relationship with God, I take it to him and he gives me more passion to do something about it, versus what happened prior to me knowing him, which was I'd get depressed.
And so now I take that anger and I, it just builds more passion. And in 2017, I left Iron Tribe to start what is now Noble Clay. And even in 2017, I kind of found myself wrestling with, well, how do we get this model to work? We had so many ideas of, you know, well, we're going to get pastors healthy and we're going to do all these different things.
And I've wrestled with it on the board. It's crumbled up paper, throwing the trash and just back and forth. And my wife. No, we, we even did some workshops at some churches and tried to teach health. And I just realized I wasn't good at executing workshops. Is this not something I needed? She's like, Ben, you need to open up a gin, gym and love on people.
And so we went back to the drawing board and go, how do we make that happen for these population of people? And that's where Noble Clay was burst was from my wife going, Ben, you need to stick to this. This is what God's called you to do. And we realized. Do some some mentors and counsel that, you know, we could structure this as a nonprofit.
And we looked at, I looked at the YMC, I looked at other models, how can we make this work? And so what we came up with is what I would like to say is, you know, is the, is the Y and Z of functional fitness personalized, functional coaching. So that's kind of a backstop I wanted to kinda give you that.
As how did, how did I get to Nobel Clay into Dan to answer the question? Like what's this model compared to group where we are now, it's an individual design model. You know, one, James Fitzgerald has been a mentor of mine and has been a a big influencer in my decision to want to do an individual design gem, a personalized functional fitness gym.
And so I knew that that model was the model was I asked the question like, If I could give the very best to the people that couldn't, that are in the vulnerable in our community, what would that look like? Like the very best you know, the gospel of Jesus says that God in his divine divinity came into earth in the person of Jesus Christ gave up his throne, died on a cross for his enemies who are sending.
And was resurrected so that humanity could have life everlasting and hope. So essentially he gave the very best of himself, gave it all a four for us. Should I ask the, ask the question? Well, what will the us, what would that look like? How could we do that for people that most, some people wouldn't think deserve it.
And and that's where I cleaned to this individual design model. I felt like, because I knew that the coaching element. Is able to be executed most effectively, I believe because you can, you can get into the model and you can start to really assess an individual on an individual basis program.
Designed them something that's tailored to what their needs are because they have different backgrounds, different history, different elements. Different biology, chemistry, things going on, different habits formed, et cetera. I mean, you know, the variables they're vast. Yeah. So how do we, how do we assess all of that?
And then pro program the best program to that individual, and then be able to reassess them and continue to refine that process until they reach a state of vitality and the individual design models. Only my wife found that can actually do that with efficacy and effectiveness. Long-term. And that's why we chose the individual design model.
And so yeah, from the economics of it, you know, we just said, okay, well, we're going to have, you know, we're going to have it structured as a, non-profit have donors come on board to help support those memberships that we need to subsidize. And so we have structured in three ways of full membership discount membership, and then a local membership, which is for members that make under $40,000.
Yeah. Yeah. Well, I think for you, what you guys are doing, this is it's fitness, right? It's health and wellness, but what are some of the, I that's what people see from the outside, but when somebody starts to make that call, we call it like a cornerstone habit or a Keystone habit of I am improving the way I feel I'm improving the way I look, I'm doing something challenging and I'm starting to improve the way that I view what I'm capable of.
Like, I totally get why. That could be such a powerful thing for people that are kind of lower socioeconomic status and for them to be able to transfer that into other things that they're doing. So w what have you seen with you know, people that you bring in that maybe are hesitant that maybe never trained before?
Definitely couldn't afford like a full membership in terms of not just, not, not necessarily just the physical side, but like, what have you seen with them in terms of the, the other things that they get from it? Yeah, man. So this is the most exciting part about what we're doing and seeing happening is that the vulnerable, vulnerable of our society, that we're able to bring in people that a lot of people just don't have a good social community, social circles, people that can bring a positive impact into their life.
Many of these folks have never had a coach they've never you know, had someone guide them through. Going from anything from point a to point B other than, you know, teachers and et cetera from public school system. But that's about the most that they've had. So it's, it's a beautiful thing to watch.
These people come into a community where like we literally have CEOs and doctors and lawyers, and there's even millionaires in our gym training next to people that, you know, last year made under 10 K. It's fascinating. And, and every racial, I mean, you come into our gym. It's like, there are every race known that you could imagine in Atlanta is pretty much in there.
Everything from Africans to African-Americans to Indians, to know white people to it's just, and then age difference twos is there. And as such, it's a very beautiful representation of how diversity can, can work. And it in unison and then that the value of that community have an impact on each individual in the community is profound.
And I don't know if you, did you see that research that they just released from Harvard about the 80 year study? They did no. Check it out. They just released it in 2019, but it was done. They started in 1939. So it was an 80 year longitudinal study. I don't know how many people, but they tracked them for these 80 years.
And they came to the conclusion that the number one variable to good quality health and happiness in their lives. Can you guess what it is is the community is healthy relationships, healthy downs, healthy relationships. That was it. That was the, that was their conclusion from the study was huge. I mean, it makes sense, but like, You know, you think, oh, okay, well activity level food intake, like sleep, all these other things.
But you know, your, your sense of being a part of something like we're, so community driven, we're just hard wired that way. Right? So not to be isolated, not to be alone. And I think the thing with training I think is where CrossFit really hit the mark on this. Or you talked about as well, like you can make a strong statement.
Just doing burpees and, you know high volume Olympic lifting coupled together, maybe not be the best way to truly train like a well-rounded individual. And there is a high margin of potential error there that could lead to injuries. It depends on where you go. Some are better than others. The community element, the people being at the gym for two hours, right?
Like you, you found it through, through, you know, your religion through, through people that you're around in an organized fashion to some other people, third place might be it, it might be the gym and it's a hell of a lot more healthy place than the bar, you know? And I think that the community element of misery loves company, and I learned this in the army.
It was like, you, you bond with people really, really quickly when you do hard things too. Yeah. And, and I think that that is like such a powerful aspect of a gym. And you as somebody that can help somebody realize. They can do these physically difficult things and they develop friendships along the way.
And they have something to share with you like wrestling. Right. You probably got super close with your friends. You wrestled with guys who were like doing grueling practices and yeah. Yeah. I've always said that in my coaching is when I, when I just train some more shock Marines and I heard this from them, they said, you know, we say once a Marine, always a Marine, because you can only bleed or sweat next to somebody for so long before you grow an intimate bond with that.
And this one Marine said, I've done that with somebody. I never, never even spoke a word with, but I, but I will get that guy's back. So. I believe it, I believe that, I mean, even, even people that I was assigned with, you know, I, I was thinking about somebody today. It was the first medic that was ever assigned to 18 years old, like straight out of medic school.
She got assigned to me because nobody knew what I did. And she was like the lowest person on the totem pole. And I didn't have a physical therapy assistant. So they were like, all right, we'll take this. She doesn't know shit. Right. So, so I get a chance to train her for like six months and her, and I ended up becoming really close, like a little sister, you know, and, and I still, to this day, I still keep up with where she's at, what she's doing.
You know, we were, we were assigned to to sign to me for 15 months, that's it, 15, 15 months. But in 15 months, that's sort of like challenging stuff that you go through, the training that the closest developed. And it's also like you're training with people that you might end up going into a very harmful environment with.
So I think you can learn a lot from that, but I do think that the gym environment. Creative, super healthy third place for people where they do get that aside from home and work, where they get to have that, you know, mental break, the physical side, they're getting that. And the community element, I think makes so much sense.
Yeah. So, yeah, and that's why I think like it's like CrossFit was decent, but it meant the group, the group model to me is just I think it's okay for some people, but when it comes to actually truly develop it. Health and vitality for a long-term. It just is. I don't see how it can be done as effectively for every individual.
It's just impossible. You know, I can't do that with 20 people doing the same thing. It's just, it's literally impossible. And I've found that over that, you know, I was in group for 10 years, you know, so yeah, I've got sick. I've hit my head on a wall, figuring, trying to figure out how do I, you know, how do I do this in the group model?
It was just, it just wasn't, it's just not supposed to. Well, I think that there's two, I think there's only two things that are approaches that I've found that actually work for people long-term that they get, you know, an actual result they're looking for with mitigation of risk of injury. One is the individualized approach with that though requires high skill level with programming as well as high skill level with coaching different people when they're coming through your door.
Right? The other one is if you can keep groups really small and you can individualize on. Like with essentially training patterns that everybody needs to be doing, but be able to say, Hey John, I know your shoulders, a little dinged up. Here's what you're going to do. But you really come on and do that with maybe four people at a time.
So like you have this very small number of people. So outside from that, if you're training 20 people at once, And, and if that's what you're looking for, you got to know that's okay, but you're getting a cheerleader more than a coach because they physically cannot handle that number of people and truly coach people and change things.
It's impossible in an hour to do that. So just describe the model that you guys have currently. So if somebody is thinking about, okay, I'm in the grant park, summer hill area, we know somewhere in that, in that area where your, where your location is what would this look like for somebody like that?
Like I'll say, I show up at your gym. Like what, what is that. Yeah. So first thing we do as a consultation, that's a free consultation when we sit down and we we go, we discover, we start building the relationship again. It's coming down as this coach member relationship and we start to learn what, what I like to tell people on the front end is we have a client centric approach.
Meaning we, as coaches seek to become students of the industry. Study them observe them so much so that we can properly be kind of a guiding light for them in their life. Right? So the free consultation is the start of that process. Will we have an initial questionnaire? We need to learn a lot about their past or what their goals are and what their why is.
And when we sit down, you come into the gym and we do a gym tour, and then we sit down and the office, we ask them, so we know what, why are you here? Tell me what your goals are. You know, what, what are you trying to. And then, you know, we use a framework where it's okay, that's their aim, and this is why they are here.
Once I discover that. And then we, we go and we go, okay, well, where are you? What's the groundwork, right? Where are you now? And we need to discover that. And so I, I, I like to, to ask them to walk me through their day, you know, sleep. What time do you go to bed? They get up. What happens when they get up all throughout their day.
And I, and what I'm doing there is looking for, we call BLG is basic lifestyle guidelines. Whereas like, how's their hydration, how's their sleep. How's their digestion. When are they eating? What are they eating? You know, what are their daily rhythms? Are they getting out in the sun often? Are they staying inside?
Are they sitting all day? All of these kinds of things are being extracted in that very first consultation. And then they get to learn about us. Like what, what is noble clay? Who are we, what, you know what does the model look like? How much does it cost? And, and it's all the way we have it structured is all unlimited training.
If, you know, we call it unlimited, but it's based on the individual's fitness level. Yeah. Do do some people need two times a week, three times a week, et cetera. And then we bring them if they say, yeah, this is great. And they want to join. They go into what we call. Onboarding is our assessment process and we'll go, we'll take them through what James is coined at OPEX UCO, and it's called the BMW program where this body movement and work capacity assessments.
And. And we sorry. So a call came in and so we through the body, we take people through an embody, a medical grade body comp, and do sort of circumference measurements and and then ask them to go get their blood work if they haven't done it from their doctor. Put that on file. And then we start doing the six movement, primal movement patterns of double leg, single leg hinge, core push pull, and, and then we go through in a row.
A work capacity assessment, 10 minute Airdyne bike for calories. How are people that have never done that? I always tell people, I'm like, take it easy on this thing, because you're going to get wind in your face. It's going to feel kind of nice for the first 20, 30 seconds, but it'll sneak up on you.
Cause that thing is tough. Yeah. And you know, we, you know for. So if I know that this individual intuitive intuition will tell me, okay, is this individual and on their initial questionnaire, I'll note somewhat as their training age, have that trained in the last six months a year. I know right away, it's like, Hey, look, you know, just stay within yourself here.
And I'll watch them make sure that they're not passing. I've seen people, you know, not listen to me and throw up afterwards on that side, you know, it can get ya. And then, and it only gets worse. The more fit you get, the deeper you can get into, into your system, you know, on that thing. And by the end of it, you're done, you know, it's a painful, it's a painful screen test, but it's a good test and there's a lot of data on it.
I don't know how many thousands upon thousands of data points on that, on that bike. And so this has some pretty good stuff for us to have a determination of where someone is in their fitness, at least aerobically. Yeah. And there, and we can take that D I kind of gave you a kind of a level one, there's really level four levels of assessments that we can do with individuals based on their fitness level.
And then when they, you know, when they finish. The onboarding they are, they choose to become a member. And we set them up on a platform called true coach where we develop all of their programming for them through true coach and, and and then every month they're going through a mini consultation with us or with their coach.
To ensure that they're on track, it's just check-ins. And then every week we're checking into, Hey, how are we doing on this? And we really spoke as in, on three buckets, fitness, nutrition, and lifestyle. And we take a habits based approach to all three of those really trying to just focus on one thing at a time.
Yeah. Within those three things. So for nutrition, it might be, you know, each slowly. But you'd be surprised that eating slowly and stopping when you're 80% full, what that does to the majority of the population or indigestion, man, I talked to somebody today that one of my, one of my clients this morning said she probably hasn't spent more than 10 minutes eating a meal for breakfast or lunch.
In the last five years, because it's all you know, out at work. And I'm like, what do you think about a computer? I was like, what do you think is happening to that food? You're in a stressful state while you're trying to digest food as, as well as it's unlikely, you're actually chewing it enough. And it's so funny.
Like we take that for granted because people think, oh, I'm multitasking, I'm being productive. But what you're really doing is you're just deteriorating your body's ability to digest the food that you're bringing in and then utilize the micronutrients to. Exactly. Yeah. It's not about what goes in your mouth is what's actually gets absorbed and digested and then absorbed, you know?
And so that I think, yeah, I think that one habit there is really transformative. For people. I love, I love the habit side too, because I think that when people say like, oh, I'm going on a diet, that's a that even the way they say it is very short term, right? It's like, I'm going to be on this diet. I'm doing this 30 day challenge.
It's like, okay, what happens after that? You know? And, and not only that, but are you truly changing the way that you. Or are you just temporarily changing the way that you look and for most people, what they want is to change the way that they live to change the way they feel, the way that they look on a long-term basis.
But also I think. The challenge for most people. And it sounds like for you guys, you address this as part of your programming is a basic knowledge of owning their own health in order to make the right decisions, to pick the right foods out, to make the decision of when they should go to bed. And a lot of that slowly builds, but what's cool.
Is that positive reinforcement, positive feedback loop of like. I feel better like, whoa, I have better emotional control with my kids. It first thing in the morning, it's like they start to realize that, and those small changes snowball into these, these over a course of a year, these lifetime changes and habits that they've developed that, you know, they can then transfer onto their kids.
Like you're, you're talking about the, the, the group of people that you're trying to help primarily that that is like, you know, low income level. They think about what they see on a daily basis of what it's like a healthy habit, the access to food they have versus, you know, someone who's a higher income level or just knowledge base of what they should eat.
Like, I think of that as like generational health, not just, I think people think of generational wealth, but like how about passing that down to your family and your kids? Like then that's, it's huge. It's a huge, huge ripple effects. Yeah. And that's, that's what you've just said is the mission. No, you've just, you've just kind of hinted towards like, what is the heartbeat behind novel clay and our vision you know, ultimately is to reinvigorate people, to be at peace and do their good I believe that every human being has a meaning of purpose and and it's interesting that we all want to be happy.
You hear it all over that. You read it all over the place. Be happy. This is about happiness. Happiness come. Out of self denial for the sake of others. So it's like the complete opposite of what we actually do, you know, but, but if we, so with noble clay, if we can, if I'm trying to rally around affluent community members and other members to say, you know what, let's, let's give ourselves to help him build up the vulnerable of our, of our city.
And it will, like you said, it will help them. Stop generational curses, really, you know lack of education around health. I mean health itself. I mean, it's it, we really have a great opportunity. And I think the model is one that can work to provide that. I, I firmly believe we're the boots on the ground and the health.
A system to prevent, to prevent the massive damage that's happening in the healthcare system right now, tip of the spear, right? It's like for somebody to get to where, where we are, you know, they have to go through a lot of levels of other people and they, and they should your coach should be able to take a crack at solving a musculoskeletal problem first.
Like that should be the person that does it because they have an ongoing in-person relationship. And cadence, and they should know when that person doesn't look they're moving, right. Or they're not feeling right, or like what's going on, you know? And from there, they get to be the gatekeeper of these other places.
And I think that is the future of health care really starts with strength and conditioning starts with coaches knowledgeable coaches that they can help people make. Long-term changes in what they're doing to avoid some of these really nasty and costly diseases that happen, you know, via sedentary lifestyle and poor decisions from a, from a healthcare, from a health and wellness standpoint and, and, and a coach has to respect that too.
If you're a coach and you want to call yourself a coach, you don't have, you can't just be a dumb ass and just, you know, tell people what you think is right, because what you learn when you're in high school from your strength coach, they probably didn't know what he was doing either. He probably liked to bench press.
Like if you want to be in that position, it's up to you. And like, I think OPEX has a great job of this, of, of actually positioning the coach in a way. An incredibly important resource in the healthcare landscape. And I really look at it like that is like a first responder that's like medics, military coaches are our medics is how it was, you know, led to us.
So I think where you guys are doing is spot on. And I think over the next 10 years, we're gonna start to see many, many more changes that lead to that sort of proactive approach versus reactive for a lot of different. Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. And that's the end game goal is get these people to a place of autonomy, you know, in regards to their health care, you know or their, you know, their health spirit, just their living, living a healthy life for themselves.
So, yeah. So, okay. So I come in, I do my assessment, I get my program, then what I just show up and get coach member. I want her, like, how does that work? Yeah. So we have you know, so after the program developed and you can come in, you know, the program will tell you when you need to come in. Let's just say that it's a beginning, right?
Let's use that as an example. So this is some of my has no has no training age, or maybe they have some training age, meaning they've maybe trained for a couple of months at a group fitness gym or something. For that individual, we'd probably do something of like a full body resistance, you know three times a week maybe one or two aerobic sessions and those full body resistance pieces would act as, as aerobic sessions as well.
And and that would be about it, you know? So they come in, they come in on the, on the, on the floor. And then we have coaches on the floor that are helping direct them. It may or may not be their own coach. They may be on the floor, but they may not, it might be another coach, but we, as a team, we have we have four coaches right now.
All of us communicate regularly on all members so that we know who's doing what, when and why. And we check in and we look at each other's true coach, and we have an Excel sheet called our member care. We're we're constantly reviewing weekly where people are, what they're, what, they're, what they're needing so that we know when we go on the coaching floor, when that individual comes into the gym, we know.
W what they need to be doing that day and can guide them well. Yeah. Yeah. I think access to that platform, you we're, we're very familiar with true coach as well. We use that for, you know, we do, we do remote programming for people that are not close to where we're at or, or maybe they're coming off an injury and they're, there's more sports specific stuff, or it's an athlete we've been working with that doesn't live here and that the platform is awesome.
I think it's great. The training age is the variable, I think is the real limiting factor for somebody that's like. They've never trained before and then they see videos of what they're supposed to do, but yet they have no idea if they're doing it. Right. Right. So like this, but even still for people that you're working with, you may have people that maybe they're, their job requires they travel.
So they at least still have. Access to an intelligently put together a program that they can say, okay, I'm in a hotel gym. I can still do something. That's going to be specific to helping me out. I may not be able to go to noble clay, but I have an access to that I think is huge. And to your point, getting to the point where they feel comfortable.
With movements with knowing, oh, my left leg is weaker than my right leg or man, my right shoulder is tighter than my left. I never noticed that before. And it's avoidance of other things. Like I saw a guy who dislocated his shoulder a couple of weeks ago, diving into an indoor pool. And as we looked at his arms, like, dude, You have no movement on this one side, go figure like you, you dove in and then you just went past what you had and boom.
And he had no idea, but it got exposed via something he thought was just harmless. Right? So what the gym does and what I think is so amazing about this is it highlights your weaknesses. And then at that point you get a decision. You ignore you hide or you change and you improve it, but they have to be able to follow something that's specific to them.
So I think it's awesome. I think that the combination of in-person and digital is probably one of the more profound ways to really train people because people are busy too. Right. So, yeah. And I would say if people are struggling with like, if they are digital, remote, like any of our. Members is if they're doing something that they are not, they don't know how to do by looking at the video, then it's the wrong exercise, you know, it's gotta be, I, I, you know, James and I were, I was just down in Arizona with JS and it's true.
We were having this conversation of like, you don't want to teach people, you know, these are primal movement patterns. So if you're, if you're properly progressing them through solid resistance training and motor control activity, Then they're going to learn these movements. They're going to have through the programming.
You can develop the skill right. Of moving well, if it's programmed, right. Yeah. Right. You know, and so it's like, that's where it's like the art, that's where the art of all this stuff comes in is really being able to take somebody exactly where they are and give them the highest. Order of what they need and in that moment, and I don't, and that's where I think the value that's what separates a coach and a trainer or a cheerleader or whatever is a coach.
Can I think a coach is one that not only can do what I just talked about there in the programming and has the competency, but they also have the care And the compassion towards the individual to, to, to meet them where they are and understand them and the totality of their being. They know that they're emotional, spiritual beings wrapped in this body, you know, that they have emotions and we never talked about that.
And something that James and I had been talking about is like, how do you, how do you train someone on the heart? The matters of the heart? All of our, all of our coaches have just gone through. A series called known 360. It was written by Dr. Chip Dodd, who wrote a book called voice of the heart. And it teaches you the eight emotions of the heart.
They are hurt, sad fear, loneliness, guilt, shame fear, and then gladness. And each of those there there's eight of them. We all have. We all experienced those as humans. When we don't deal with those emotions, they always lead to impairments. They always do. And when, when we mean by don't deal with them, that means we don't identify them.
Like I'm fearful. Okay. I'm experiencing fear right now. And just identifying it and then expressing or exploring it and then expressing it in the confines of a, of a trustful relation. No. So if you're my best friend, Danny, and I'm like, man, Danny, dude, I'm still in sphere right now. It is probably on a, on a five.
I mean, just like, I don't know if we're going to make it in the business, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Right? When I start sharing this with you, it's, that's, it's healthy because I'm processing within you. I trust you to take it. And what comes out of that is a gift, which is wisdom. And faith comes out of fear as a gift.
And each of those eight all have gifts. And then the impairment of fear. If I don't deal with that fear, guess what it does. It leads to anxiety. That's what happens. And if you think about like the mental health crisis right now in the United States with like 90 million people right now experienced in fear, anxiety to levels where they're having to medicate.
And so the question is, is like as a fitness coach on the front line, Are we developing ourselves outside of like, we got to think outside the box of, okay, this is a human being, not just the biomechanics and the, you know, the kinetics and the physiology and having all of that kind of competency. But what about the heart?
Yeah. What about their soul? What about their mind? What about, you know, these other, th th the other aspects of the human being that have to be thought about and have to be trained on to be able to maximally. Serve the individual, right, dude, I think that's where I'd point, man. I, and w what you bring up though is the 5% that makes a massive difference that most people don't want to talk about.
Don't want to bring up and don't also. Associate stress, anxiety, fear with chronic pain that develops as well. And I see this every day I saw I just to this day, I like just today. I should say I saw a, a long-term client of ours. We've been dealing with chronic back pain and we know there's nothing physically wrong at this point.
We've dealt with all these things still there. And in particular when. Dealing with big projects at work. She, she switched companies not too long ago. About a month ago. I hadn't seen her since then comes back in today, skips into my office, basically no pain whatsoever. None like totally different mental state pain is completely gone.
Nothing changed about what she was doing physically. What changed was she just unloaded the burden of all this stress from these projects that she had in this position that she felt overwhelmed with with a job that she didn't really like or feel like she was progressing in that she didn't really know where to go next, got a different different job and isn't a completely different state.
So if we make the statement that, oh, Pain is only physical, right? It has to be a disc problem. It has to be a hip impair, you know, impairment of some sort. It doesn't, it's just not true. There are so many other factors were so multifactorial and messy half the time. I had a patient break on break down on me today.
We, I gave her a hug for like 10 seconds because she's, she's emotionally just distraught about where she's at and how she feels about herself. And what people have to realize is we all feel that way. Most of us just bottle this shit up, and then it shows itself in these other ways. And you don't realize it.
It can actually affect your ability to. Feel pain or not feel pain or to feel to actually be strong or be, or be weak or heal. And so I think what you're saying is huge. I think it's just, I don't think it's something that a lot of coaches talk about and, or have the society doesn't talk about it. Exactly.
I mean, I really don't unless you go into a counselor's office, maybe. Yeah. But there's a stigma around that. I mean, look, I remember when I was in the army, you talk about. Fear and anxiety. There's so much of that within that, within that culture. And, and if you go talk to mental health, you're a, you're a pussy.
Like that's like, oh, that guy's a pussy. That's the term they used. If you don't like it, I'm sorry. That's exactly what you're getting called. And the only person I ever saw that broke that I had, there was a chaplain that was assigned to my brigade. And this guy was, had been in the special forces group for like 10 years, went back because to become a chaplain.
And this dude would show up at PT hours like if physical training in the morning and he would just run with everybody, he would crush everybody basically. And then people that he would talk to you, like would not know who he was. They would just be little sidebar conversations. He started talking about stuff that was going on.
Eventually they'd come see him. And that was like the best way for him to get soldiers to come and talk to him. To actually go on with them doing physical training. And then they had respect to the fact that he'd done a lot of really hard stuff in the military. So I think there's a stigma around it in general.
And mental health is just as important as physical health easily, you know? And I think a lot of people, they don't really realize that they go hand in hand. Yeah, I think there's a bigger conference. Yeah. There's a conversation there. I think that we need to have, cause you said it is like, you know, society has called us, you know, your term was used as pussies and that's all in the army.
I get it. But that's society. I mean, it tells you, you know, you're a man don't cry. Don't you suck it up, pull up stuff by your bootstraps. Right? So, what happens is you shut off your heart. You say, you know what, I'm not going to be wounded again. I'm not going to hurt anymore. I'm not going to, I'm not going to experience this pain, this loneliness I'm gonna, I'm gonna, I'm gonna guard off.
And so what happens is the next part of our being is our thought life. Are designed to process our emotions and listen, this is, this is really, I learned this from Dr. Chip is profound, and this is exactly how I lived most of my life because I was so wounded when I was five years old and my mom left me.
I had abandonment issues, but then everybody, you know, I can talk about it because it was just, you know, don't, don't be sad. And what happens is your, your, your, your heart is a great place to let you know where you are. Like, it's honest, it's truthful. It's where I am. They're a bad place to make a decision from.
And a lot of people do that, right? Yeah. Horrible place to make a decision from. But what our thoughts are designed to do are to process that heart is when we shut off our heart, what our thoughts end up turning to is then, okay, well, how am I going to react based on what I think that person is thinking of me, right?
What am I going to do? How am I going to, how am I going to, how am I going to function? Or react or behave based on what this individual is doing. And that's what we ended up doing. But then, and then the next part of our being our spirituality then becomes rituals and religion. Right? We have to work our way to something, right.
It's no longer relationship. I, you know, a relationship with God has completely different saying, but this is how religions are spawned. And then our behavior. Is impacted. Right? And then we have our environment and then we have our physiology and it kind of, our life flows like that. So when, when the feeling of the heart gets shut off, our thoughts.
We don't, we don't truly act as who we are, who we truly are. We lose, we lose our true selves. So I'm on this kind of mission, if you will, to really open up for more than me to understand it more, but to open up people's eyes, to really understanding who they are truly made to be. Yeah. And if they, if they really saw who they were truly made to be, it would blow them away.
I think there was some quote out there, you know, it's like what was that greatest? You know, it's not coming to me right now, but it's like one of those quotes, like our biggest fear is not what we can't do it. It's what we can do or something. Yeah. And it's true. Like, there's this, like, there's this hot, there's this nobility.
This is where Nobel clay got his name. There's this inherent dignity in the human being above all over, all over, all over other creation. There's an inherent dignity and worth, and that's why human beings control, you know, and have dominion over the world. But yet there's this clay about us? There's this, this, this need, like I learned from you, Danny, you know, I've learned so much about.
You know, understanding the body and ensuring to take a slower process to, to recovery and rehab and prehab the need for pre-AP there's some lot of things that I've learned and from you know w you know, MobilityWOD, I mean, just following everything from mobility wise, so much of nothing. So I like play I've been formed and, and, and growing, and we all are like that.
Right. That's renewable clay got, it's got its name and its its meaning. And so there's something there of like, it was much more than we, we think we know about how, how we found it. And I'm on. Yeah. I'm on path to kind of help help people realize that about themselves. You know, I just think that that that's this is some, this is some deep stuff.
I think that hopefully, you know, people that are they're listening to this, they realize that for us in many ways people come to see you cause they probably will. Feel more comfortable with themselves and they don't have their clothes on or be more attracted to their spouse, you know, or, or, or be more confident in and be able to walk up a flight of stairs without feeling like they're going to pass out.
Yeah. That's a superficial goal, right? That's a superficial thing that gets them in the door. And we know somebody comes to see me because their back hurts or their shoulder hurts superficial. I know the reason you're there. It's because there's so many other factors associated with your life that you can't do because it's injury stopping for me.
And as soon as I can get rid of those symptoms, now we get to have a real conversation. Now we'll get to really get to what you're trying to do, which, and oftentimes it's. We're not the end all place for that. Like, we need people like yourself. We need smart coaches that we then can send people off to knowing that they're going to get the right the right thing, because they've asked for help.
They're in a bad place. And many times it's fleeting. This is the other thing I've noticed. It's super fleeting. Like they get the courage to work on solving something. And if you cannot capitalize on that, it's gone and they're back to mourn, avoiding, and still doing the same thing over and over and never break the cycle.
Yeah, I hope we didn't lose anybody on this one. We're still talking about health and wellness, but this is such an important side that people just don't even realize it. You know, I think what you guys are doing is amazing for that. So if people are interested in. Working with you it's this will come out in in February.
If you guys still accepting clients, if so, like what's the process in which somebody would go through to, to, to look to do some work with Noble Clay.
Yeah, no. Yeah. So it's really simple. Just go to nobleclayfitness.com and there's a claim free session button right at the top. You can't miss it.
It's right next to a donate now. And just click the claim free session and follow the prompts and, and it'll schedule a time to meet with us. So cool. That's it? Yeah, highly, highly recommended. I think what you guys are doing is great, especially if you're in the area. I know we know a lot of people in the grant park area because that's where we live and you know, for us, it's just cool to be able to have a resource in the, you know, close to where we're at, that we can refer friends and family to that, that we know, you know, they need the, they need the support, they need the help they've got goals and, and, you know, coaching is necessary to, to achieve that.
So yeah, dude, thank you so much for your time.
This was a great talk. I really, yeah, brother, I appreciate you having me on man. Absolutely guys as always. Thanks for listening to podcasts. We'll catch you.
Hey, thanks so much for listening to the podcast today. If you want to find out more about our guests or about Athletes' Potential and how we can help you continue to be active and pain-free in life, head over to athletespotential.com to learn more.
Dr. Danny and staff's views on performance improvement, injury prevention, and sometimes other random thoughts.